Janine Anthony Bowen, John P. Hutchins and Christopher A. Wiech bring privacy, complex commercial litigation and transactions experience to firm
BakerHostetlerannounced that a trio of technology-focused lawyers has joined its Atlanta office as partners. Janine Anthony Bowen, John P. Hutchins and Christopher A. Wiech joined from LeClairRyan, where they were leaders of the firm’s technology and innovations practice.
The three bring a combination of broad and unique experience in matters important to technology companies and companies dealing with tech-related issues, including business transactions, privacy and data protection, outsourcing, regulatory compliance, intellectual property, and complex litigation. They will be members of BakerHostetler’sprivacy and data protection practice team.
“The addition of Janine, John and Chris enhances our presence in Atlanta and further strengthens the team’s capabilities when supporting clients with technology issues,” said Theodore J. Kobus III, leader of BakerHostetler’s privacy and data protection practice. “Their work on technology matters complements our core group of more than 55 cybersecurity attorneys serving clients from Fortune 500 companies to small and midsize businesses as well as health systems, universities, emerging technology companies, and state and municipal entities.”
“Technology is omnipresent for businesses of all sizes, and Janine, John and Chris provide the transactional and litigation experience that our clients will find invaluable,” said Joann Gallagher Jones, managing partner of BakerHostetler’s Atlanta office. “Their cross-disciplinary practice brings additional depth to the extensive IP capabilities in our Atlanta office.”
Janine Anthony Bowen
Janine Anthony Bowen advises clients on a host of issues related to technology, including its licensing and acquisition, privacy and data security, intellectual property agreements, and the strategic use of technology in e-commerce, cloud computing, mobile applications, IoT and other areas. She negotiates sophisticated, business-critical technology deals for her clients on both the buy and sell sides.
Bowen holds credentials as a Certified Information Privacy Professional from the International Association of Privacy Professionals. Prior to entering private practice, Bowen was a senior consultant for Accenture, an industrial engineer at CIBA Vision and a program manager at IBM.
Bowen received her J.D. from Georgia State University College of Law, and an M.S. in industrial engineering and a B.S. in industrial engineering from Clemson University.
In 2017, Bowen was inducted into the Thomas Green Clemson Academy of Engineers and Scientists, becoming the first woman to receive the highest honor bestowed by Clemson University’s College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences.
John P. Hutchins
John Hutchins is a veteran trial and technology lawyer with broad experience encompassing complex commercial litigation and trial work, privacy and data security matters, and compliance and strategic counseling on technology matters and transactions.
He has litigated for clients on a wide range of issues, primarily focusing on matters involving privacy, technology, intellectual property, government procurement, restrictive covenants and breach of fiduciary duty but also including cases pertaining to eminent domain, vintage race cars and death-penalty habeas corpus, among others.
Hutchins’ privacy and data security practice, in addition to litigation, includes advising clients on compliance with state, federal, and international privacy and data security laws and guidance.
His transactional practice consists of a mix of complex technology transactions, including sourcing deals, hosted services arrangements, cloud computing, technology licensing, systems procurement and project implementation.
Hutchins received his J.D. from the University of South Carolina, where he was a member of the South Carolina Law Review. He received his B.A. from the University of South Carolina and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
Christopher A. Wiech
Christopher Wiech is a business trial lawyer whose practice primarily focuses on technological disputes and in matters for clients dealing with privacy and data security incidents. He also handles complex litigation for clients on corporate governance issues, business torts, restrictive covenants and breach of fiduciary duty, financial industry matters, and creditor rights and bankruptcies. He has experience before federal and state courts throughout the United States, including in class actions, jury trails, arbitration matters and appellate cases.
Wiech advises clients on state, federal, and international laws and regulations regarding data security and privacy issues, e-commerce, cloud computing, social media, fintech, and records management. He also advises companies on legal and regulatory compliance facing emerging technologies, including cryptocurrency, IoT and blockchain technology.
Wiech holds credentials as a Certified Information Privacy Professional from the International Association of Privacy Professionals. He received his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law and his B.S. from James Madison University.
“We are pleased to be joining BakerHostetler. The firm’s strong corporate and litigation practices, and especially its industry-leading privacy and data protection team, make it a perfect fit for our work and our clients,” said Hutchins. “Janine, Chris and I work with clients on sophisticated transactions, data protection and complex litigation, and we needed to join a firm that had equally broad and deep bench strength in those areas and related practices.”
BakerHostetler’s award-winning privacy and data protection team continues its strategic growth, adding high-profile laterals in a number of key markets and continuing its reputation for effectively managing data security incidents, responding to regulatory investigations, providing risk assessments and compliance counseling, and defending class actions.
Ranked in the 2017 edition of Chambers USA – Privacy & Data Security as well as in Chambers Global – USA, Privacy & Data Security, the team is a cross-disciplinary practice of more than 55 attorneys who have counseled clients nationally and internationally through more than 2,500 data breach and ransomware responses. The annual BakerHostetlerData Security Incident Response Report is regarded as one of the industry’s most credible analyses of data security incidents companies face. In its fourth year, the report helps companies understand potential threats, protect their data and fine-tune their incident response plans. In response to increasing ransomware events in 2017, the privacy and data protection practice has formed a SWAT team of dedicated on-call privacy and data protection attorneys experienced in the evolution of ransomware. The SWAT team members help clients immediately address whether and how to pay ransom, how to preserve crucial data to ensure business continuity, when to engage with law enforcement, and how to draft crisis communications.
OPEC+ to weigh modest oil output boost at meeting – sources
By Ahmad Ghaddar, Alex Lawler and Olesya Astakhova
LONDON/MOSCOW (Reuters) – OPEC+ oil producers will discuss a modest easing of oil supply curbs from April given a recovery in prices, OPEC+ sources said, although some suggest holding steady for now given the risk of new setbacks in the battle against the pandemic.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, known as OPEC+, cut output by a record 9.7 million bpd last year as demand collapsed due to the pandemic. As of February, it is still withholding 7.125 million bpd, about 7% of world demand.
In January OPEC+ slowed the pace of a planned output increase to match weaker-than-expected demand due to continued coronavirus lockdowns. Saudi Arabia made extra voluntary cuts for February and March.
Three OPEC+ sources said an output increase of 500,000 barrels per day from April looked possible without building up inventories, although updated supply and demand balances that ministers will consider at their March 4 meeting will determine their decision.
“The oil price is definitely high and the market needs more oil to cool the prices down,” one of the OPEC+ sources said. “A 500,000 bpd increase from April is an option – looks like a good one.”
A rally in prices towards $67 a barrel, the highest since January 2020, the rollout of vaccines and economic recovery hopes have boosted confidence the market could take more oil. India, the world’s third biggest oil importer, has urged OPEC+ to ease production cuts.
Saudi Arabia’s voluntary cut of 1 million barrels per day (bpd) ends next month. While Riyadh hasn’t shared its plans beyond March, expectations in the group are growing that Saudi Arabia will bring back the supply from April, perhaps gradually.
Some OPEC+ members also anticipate that the Saudis will be willing to ease cuts further, but it was not clear if they had had direct communication with Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia has warned producers to be “extremely cautious” and some OPEC members are wary of renewed demand setbacks. One OPEC country source said a full return of the Saudi barrels in April would mean the rest of OPEC+ should not pump more yet.
“The Saudi voluntary cut will be back to the market,” the source said. “I’m personally with no more relaxation, not until June.”
Russia, one of the OPEC+ countries which was allowed to boost output in February, is keen to raise supply and a source last week said Moscow would propose adding more oil if nothing changed before the March 4 virtual meeting.
(Additional reporting by Rania El Gamal and Nidhi Verma; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)
UK’s Sunak to build bridge to recovery with more spending
By William Schomberg
LONDON (Reuters) – British finance minister Rishi Sunak will next week promise yet more spending to prop up the economy during what he hopes will be the last phase of lockdown, but he will also probably signal tax rises ahead to plug the huge hole in the public finances.
Sunak, who is due to announce a new budget plan on March 3, has already racked up more than 280 billion pounds ($397 billion) in coronavirus spending and tax cuts, pushing Britain’s borrowing to a peacetime record.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to lift England’s current lockdown entirely only in late June so Sunak is expected to rely heavily on the debt markets again.
His job retention scheme, paying 80% of employees’ wages, will probably be extended beyond a scheduled April 30 expiry date, further inflating its estimated cost of 70 billion pounds. Support for the self-employed looks set to stay too.
Businesses are demanding Sunak keep other lifelines, such as exempting the firms hardest hit by the lockdown from property taxes and giving them a value-added tax cut.
And calls are growing for an extension of a 20 pounds-a-week emergency welfare increase due to expire in April.
The Times newspaper said Sunak would prolong his stamp duty property tax break for three months until the end of June.
Sunak hopes that by then Britain will be emerging from its deep freeze thanks to Europe’s fastest vaccination programme.
Bank of England Chief Economist Andy Haldane likens the economy to a “coiled spring” primed with the savings that households have built up after being stuck at home.
A strong recovery would mean a jump in tax revenues, doing some of the Treasury’s job of fixing the public finances.
Rupert Harrison, an aide to former finance minister George Osborne, said Sunak should not try to slash Britain’s 2.1 trillion-pound debt mountain, equivalent to 98% of GDP – a ratio unthinkable for decades.
Instead he should write new budget rules tied to the cost of debt servicing, which is close to record lows.
“We can safely carry higher levels of debt than before,” Harrison told a webinar organised by Onward, a think-tank.
But the scale of Britain’s borrowing is raising questions about how long Sunak and Johnson can stick to their promises not to raise key taxes, made to voters before the 2019 election.
The huge costs of tackling the worst of the coronavirus pandemic are likely to ease in the months ahead, meaning this year’s 400 billion pound budget deficit should narrow.
But Britain is probably on course to be stuck with a gap of 60 billion pounds between revenues and day-to-day spending by the mid-2020s, the Institute for Fiscal Studies think-tank says.
In a nod to that, Sunak is expected to start raising Britain’s low corporation tax rate.
The Sunday Times said the rate would rise steadily to bring in an extra 12 billion pounds a year by the time of the next election, due in 2024.
Other options include ending a freeze on fuel duty increases which has been in place since 2012 and looks at odds with Britain’s plans to be carbon net zero by 2050.
But higher fuel prices now would hurt the haulage industry, already struggling with Brexit-related disruption, and could alienate working-class voters who backed Johnson in 2019.
Higher capital gains tax or lower pension incentives would anger lawmakers in Johnson’s Conservative Party.
David Gauke, a former deputy finance minister, said the only big revenue-raising options were the ones that Johnson has promised not to touch – income tax, VAT and national insurance contributions.
“In the end, they are going to have to say, sorry we just can’t responsibly maintain that manifesto commitment,” Gauke told the Onward webinar.
($1 = 0.7046 pounds)
(Writing by William Schomberg; Editing by Catherine Evans)
Women inch towards equal legal rights despite COVID-19 risks, World Bank says
By Sonia Elks
(Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Women gained legal rights in nearly 30 countries last year despite disruption due to COVID-19, but governments must do more to ease the disproportionate burden shouldered by women during the pandemic, the World Bank said on Tuesday.
Nations should prioritise gender equality in economic recovery efforts, the bank said, warning that progress on equal rights was threatened by heavier job losses in female-dominated sectors, increased childcare and a surge in domestic violence.
“This pandemic has exacerbated existing inequalities that disadvantage girls and women,” David Malpass, World Bank Group president, said in a statement accompanying the annual “Women, Business and the Law” report.
“Women should have the same access to finance and the same rights to inheritance as men and must be at the centre of our efforts toward an inclusive and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
A total of 27 countries reformed laws or regulations to give women more economic equality with men in 2019-20, said the report, which grades 190 nations on laws and regulations that affect women’s economic opportunities.
While countries in all of the world’s regions made improvements in the new index – with most reforms addressing pay and parenthood, women on average still have only about three quarters of the rights granted to men, the report found.
Notably, nearly 40 countries brought in extra benefit or leave policies to help employees balance their jobs with the extra childcare needs created by coronavirus restrictions.
But such measures were “few and far between” worldwide and will probably not go far enough to tackle the “motherhood penalty” many women face in the workplace, it said.
The report also noted separate data from a United Nations tool tracking gender-sensitive pandemic responses which found 70% of such measures addressed violence, with just 10% targeting women’s economic security.
The pandemic could result in “a backslide on various hard-won advances in women’s rights achieved in recent years”, said Antonia Kirkland, the global lead on legal equality at women’s rights organisation Equality Now.
“This disruption is a unique opportunity for countries to rebuild more resilient, inclusive and prosperous economies,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by email.
“But this can only be achieved alongside the removal of sex discriminatory laws that prevent women from participating fully and equally in economic, social and family life.”
(Reporting by Sonia Elks @soniaelks; Editing by Helen Popper. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)
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